1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, CA 92821-5732
(714) 990-7764, fax - (714) 990-2258 Hours: 7:30 to 5:30 Mon-Thu, 8:00 to 5:00 Friday; Closed alternate Fridays
You may submit an inquiry by email. Click here to send information to code enforcement.
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Brea's Code Enforcement Program
The City of Brea has established a code enforcement program in an effort to ensure that the quality of life is maintained throughout our community. This program exists not to punish individual property owners, but to maintain the greater good of the community by gaining compliance with adopted codes. This is a "reactive" program in that inspection is done only when there are complaints from others. Contact information on the submitter is optional and it is kept confidential when recieved. This has proven quite useful for providing feedback on a situation where a code violation has occurred.
Brea's code compliance program seeks to maintain a good quality of life for everyone. In that regard, this is a positive program that promotes a sense of shared responsibility. In order to reinforce the importance of compliance with municipal and building and safety codes, the Brea City Council has authorized use of administrative citations for violations. A code enforcement officer has authority to issue a citation using professional discretion as to the severity and immediacy of each sitution. Such “tickets” when issued carry penalty fees that must be paid by those who would fail to remedy the situation noted by the code inspector. This step would always be used prior to referral of violations to a prosecuting attorney and then subsequent added expenses for a legal process.
The steps listed below identify the usual procedure used to carry out the goals of this program primarily directed toward the elimination of aesthetic and safety violations.
The first step in this process is when a violation of codes is perceived and a complaint is filed. Once the complaint is found to become a potential code issue, the Code Enforcement Officer will inspect the premises and determine if the issue warrants follow up.
A code enforcement action begins when the Code Enforcement Officer identifies a violation of City regulations. The person or persons responsible for causing the violation may be notified of the problem by letter or the issuance of a citation. This letter will include the nature of the violation and the date when it should be corrected. The immediacy of the corrective action will depend on the significance of the violation. If the violation has a health and safety concern, the City may require the work to be done in more than 3 days.
A formal written notice will be presented if corrective action is not accomplished through the initial letter or citation. This formal notice represents the beginning of the legal process. The date of this notice establishes the first date the violation exists for future legal proceedings. As always, compliance is the most important factor and if special scheduling is needed, the City will be accommodating. If a code violation still exists after the second reinspection, the property owner will be charged the inspector's rate fee of $82.00 per hour for any additional code enforcement activities.
If the City cannot gain compliance even after negotiating with the property owner, the Code Enforcement Officer will transfer responsibility to the City Prosecutor. At this point, all correspondence is handled by the City's attorney and is out of City staff's hands.
After reviewing the file, the City Prosecutor will schedule a conference with the violator to discuss the problem. At the completion of the discussion, there will be one last opportunity to agree to a schedule for compliance.
If after review, we are still unable to settle the issue, the City Prosecutor will file a criminal complaint with the North Orange County Court. This action becomes the "point of no return." Regardless of compliance, the City cannot withdraw the complaint from the Court. At this point, the party will be defending his or her position for the time period the code problem existed.
Soon, the violator will be given a date and time to attend an arraignment hearing. That hearing allows the judge an opportunity to hear whether the violator pleads "guilty," "not guilty," or "no contest." A "not guilty" plea will result in the setting of a trial date. A "guilty" or "no contest" plea will result in a court decision (usually a fine and probation) against the violator.
Another option which may be available once the complaint is filed, but before the trial, is a "civil compromise." This agreement between the City and the violator requires specific corrective action be completed by a certain date; and the agreement of the violator to pay court costs. The agreement is submitted to the Court and, if accepted, becomes an order of the court. Failure to comply with the agreement will cause the court to reinstate the legal action and may ultimately have an impact on the existing trial.
At the appointed time and place, a trial will be held to evaluate the merits of the City's complaint. After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the court will issue a verdict. A "not guilty" verdict will terminate the action, while a "guilty" action will result in a sentence. The sentence always will include compliance, possibly a fine, and court costs.
This process has been developed not only to furnish the City a means to obtain code compliance, but to protect the rights of anyone identified as being in violation of a City code. If you feel any staff actions during this process violate your rights or any staff actions prohibited you from complying with City codes, please contact Gabriel Linares, Building and Safety Manager at (714) 990-7769 to discuss your situation.
If you have received a citation, and wish to appeal, click here for the application form.
Click here if you are requesting a hardship waiver.